Santa Fe Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Andre Lewis, 33, of Santa Fe, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to federal tax offenses, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Dawn Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation.
Lewis was arrested in May 2014, on an eleven-count indictment. Count 1 of the indictment charged Lewis with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and Count 2 charged him with making a materially false statement to a federal officer. Counts 3 through 11 charged Lewis with preparing and aiding and abetting the preparation and filing of false tax returns. Lewis committed the offenses between Feb. 2009 and Aug. 2009 in Bernalillo, County, N.M.
According to the indictment, from Feb. to July 2009, Lewis conspired with others to defraud the IRS by preparing and filing fraudulent claims for tax refunds. Lewis and his co-conspirators perpetuated the scheme by obtaining the names, identifiers and W-2 Forms for federal taxpayers, and using that information to electronically file federal income tax returns included either false claims for the First Time Home Buyer Credit or false withholding information. Lewis and his conspirators thus obtained tax refunds to which they were not entitled from the IRS.
This morning, Lewis entered guilty pleas to Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment charging him with conspiracy and aiding and abetting the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return. In his plea agreement, Lewis admitted filing a false tax return in Feb. 2009, by which he fraudulently obtained $16,024.14 from the IRS by misrepresenting his tax withholdings. Lewis also admitted that in 2009 he was involved in filing at least ten false tax returns and fraudulently receiving refunds based on those returns. In his plea agreement, Lewis admitted defrauding the IRS of an aggregate of $118,470.76 through this unlawful scheme.
Lewis has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Lewis faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years on Count 1 and a statutory maximum penalty of three years on Count 3.
Two of Lewis’s co-conspirators previously have entered guilty pleas to federal tax charges in related cases. Jerry Gurule, 33, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty on July 24, 2014, to assisting in the preparation of the preparation and filing of a false tax return. Gurule was sentenced on Dec. 10, 2014, to four years of probation with eight months of home confinement and was ordered to pay $69,070.19 in restitution to the IRS. Also on July 24, 2014, Lawrence Jaramillo, 33, of Bosque Farms, N.M., pled guilty to conspiracy and to assisting in the preparation of the preparation and filing of a false tax return. Jaramillo is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 13, 2015.
These cases were investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation in Albuquerque and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean J. Sullivan.